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If you own a sports car and are into high-performance driving, there’s a good chance that you’ll take it to a track. Whether it is a genuine racetrack with large sweeping turns or an autocross course with a bunch of cones, off-road track driving is a fun way to explore the limits of your sporty car. However, if the worst should happen – like the engine blowing up – does the car’s warranty cover it?

A new car warranty will cover your car on the track, depending on the automaker

A front view of the 2023 Honda Civic Type R on a race track.
2023 Honda Civic Type R | Honda

Whether or not your new car is covered on a racetrack depends on the manufacturer. For example, Acura and Honda’s warranty terms state that the warranty is void if: “use of the vehicle in competition or racing events.” However, the editors at Autoblog spoke a Honda representative who told them, “If the car is stock, the warranty covers it on the track just as it does on the street. No question. However, if the car is modified, say with slick tires or other components that would put higher stresses on the vehicle’s parts and systems, then we would have to investigate the systems further.”

It was the same story for Chevrolet, where high-performance cars like the Camaro Z28 and Corvette are still covered under warranty as long as the car is in its original production form. On the other hand, Chrysler is on the opposite end of the spectrum as it does not cover any of its vehicles when “participating in a racing event.”

Toyota recently stated it would not cover cars in a racing event

In addition to Chrysler, Toyota also refuses to cover vehicles under warranty if a failure results on a track. A recent story published by The Drive, details the unfortunate events that happened to a 2022 Toyota GR86 owner named Luke. A week ago, Luke participated in a high-performance driving event at Palmer Motorsports Park, and about five minutes into the first lap, his GR86 gave him trouble.

“Initially, I thought a fender liner or something had come loose and was knocking against the tire, as I had a helmet on and wasn’t really expecting engine failure during warm-up,” he told The Drive. “Eventually, it got really loud, and I pulled over as shown.”

Luke is referring to a video of the incident below:

Luke’s 2022 GR86 only had around 19,000 miles on the odometer, which is well below the new-car warranty’s 36,000-mile limit. The car was dropped off at a local Toyota dealership and the next morning, the service manager called Luke and told him that there was a hole on the top of the engine block. He also told him that Toyota wouldn’t cover it under warranty since it happened during a track day – despite the fact that the video shows Luke driving slowly during the warm-up lap.

To be fair, Toyota does state in its warranty that the vehicle will not be covered under competition use, but in Luke’s case, we think it should be reviewed further.

Is it a good idea to take your new car on the track?

2023 Toyota GR86 on a track
2023 Toyota GR86 | Toyota

If you just purchased a new car and would like to experience it on a race track, we suggest reviewing the warranty carefully. If you own a Honda or Acura, you could be OK. But if you own another brand, you could end up like Luke should the worst of the worst happen. Either way, we always condone seat time on a race track, if possible. Just be safe and make sure that your car is covered.